Texas recruiting takes a hit as on-field performance continues to disappoint

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Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas football team once again failed to live up to lofty expectations in the 2020 season. The middling play on the field, combined with questions surrounding head coach Tom Herman’s job security, led to a number of high-profile decommitments on the recruiting trail.

Less than a week before Early Signing Day on Dec. 16, the Longhorns currently have the lowest-ranked recruiting class since the 2017 cycle, which ranked 25th in the nation. Despite fielding six top-300 ranked recruits, according to 247Sports, Texas has the 17th-best recruiting class in the nation and the second-best class in the Big 12. While the team still has a few blue-chip prospects, such as five-star Denton Ryan athlete Ja’Tavion Sanders, the class has been marred by decommitments and missed opportunities. 

Just four days after Texas suffered an abysmal loss to an unranked TCU team, the Longhorns lost a commitment from Sanders’ teammate and four-star prospect Billy Bowman Jr. To make matters worse for the Longhorns, Bowman Jr. committed to rival Oklahoma less than a month later, continuing a trend of top high schoolers from the state of Texas fleeing north of the Red River for greener pastures. 

In total, the Longhorns lost five commitments in their 2021 class, three of them top-300 prospects.

The most disappointing result on the Longhorns’ recruiting trail this fall, however, came from the decommitment of a 2022 prospect.

On Oct. 28, with Texas sitting at a disappointing 3–2 record and rumors about Herman’s firing at an all-time high, the Longhorns lost a commitment from the No. 1-ranked player in the class of 2022. Quinn Ewers, a quarterback from Southlake Carroll in North Texas, decommitted from the Longhorns and almost immediately announced his intentions to play at Ohio State. The loss of the nation’s best quarterback prospect hurt the Texas fanbase immensely at a time when the confidence surrounding the season was in the gutter, but Ewers’ commitment and subsequent decommitment has placed the Longhorns in a pickle in regard to the quarterback position.

When Ewers first committed to Texas in August, the Longhorns immediately lost a pledge from their highest-ranked quarterback commit in the class of 2021. Jalen Milroe, a dual-threat prospect out of Tompkins High School in Katy, Texas, immediately announced his intentions to decommit from Texas after Ewers signaled his intentions to attend the University. Milroe, a four-star, decided to attend the University of Alabama only three days later. 

Now, the Texas football team has only one quarterback commitment in its 2021 class, three-star Charles Wright from nearby Austin High. While Wright is a standout for his high school team, the Longhorns are in a tough spot with their quarterback recruiting after both Ewers and Milroe decommitted.

The 17th-best recruiting class in the nation is nothing to scoff at. After all, the 2017 recruiting class, the lowest ranked in recent memory, yielded future stars such as senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger and junior offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi. But the 17th-ranked recruiting class is not the so-called “Texas Standard.”

A dip in recruiting signals a lack of confidence from high school recruits about the direction of Texas football. With the Texas football team embroiled in mediocre on-field play and dysfunction in the administration, it seems recruits are noticing that the Forty Acres may not be the best place to mold their football skills.